NFL.com analyst and former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah takes a "first look" at some of college football's top players for 2020. This is the 17th in a series of scouting reports that will run throughout the offseason.
There was a time not too long ago when it was rare to see an interior offensive lineman drafted in the first round. And it was almost unheard of to spend an early first-round pick on the position. That's not the case anymore, though. At least one such player has been selected in Round 1 in each of the last three drafts and five of the last six. A guard went in the first half of the first round in consecutive years from 2018 (Quenton Nelson, Colts) to 2019 (Chris Lindstrom, Falcons). Who's next in the pipeline? Well, after watching Ohio State redshirt junior Wyatt Davis' tape, I can see why so many are excited about his potential at the next level. Here's my scouting report.
Height, weight: 6-foot-4, 315 pounds (school measurements).
Game tape watched: Michigan State (Oct. 5, 2019), Penn State (Nov. 23, 2019), Clemson (Dec. 28, 2019).
What I liked: Davis is extremely strong and powerful. He excels on the front side of the play in the running game because of his ability to lock on, run his feet and generate movement. His hands land with a violent jolt and he stays attached to his defender throughout the play. He's effective on combo blocks, working with the center before taking good angles up to the linebacker.
In the passing game, he's quick out of his stance and he easily absorbs power rushers. He sets his anchor and avoids giving ground. He doesn't have elite change-of-direction skills but he plays with good balance and stays attached. He looks to help when he's uncovered and I love his nasty demeanor to finish.
Where he needs to improve: Davis needs to improve his ability to play in space. He takes good angles, but he struggles to adjust on the move. He flashes the ability to reach/seal on the back side, but this is another area in which he needs to be more consistent. In the passing game, there are times when he's a little bit late adjusting to slants and stunts. I believe we will see improvement in all of these areas as he continues to gain more experience.
Biggest takeaway: I've talked to many offensive line coaches over the years and they all covet the traits that Davis possesses: strength, toughness and effort. He's an outstanding finisher. However, as I outlined above, he does have areas where he needs to improve. I've heard some folks compare him to Quenton Nelson. In my opinion, he isn't anywhere near that level of player. He lacks Nelson's quickness, knee-bend and change of direction. However, I do believe Davis will be a solid starter as soon as he steps foot on an NFL field.
He reminds me of: I see similarities to David DeCastro when he was coming out of Stanford in 2012. Both guys excel when they can stay on one track, and they collect plenty of knockdowns in every game. DeCastro had better flexibility, but I think they are comparable athletes. DeCastro has enjoyed a tremendous professional career with the Steelers, earning five straight Pro Bowl nods and two All-Pro selections. Davis has the potential to do the same.